Lê Thị Tuyết could be a surprise factor in marathon race at SEA Games

April 26, 2023 - 07:16
In March, in preparation for the Games, Tuyết completed her coach’s tactics and won gold at the traditional Tiền Phong Marathon, the national championship held in Lai Châu Province with a time of 2:54.33.
Lê Thị Tuyết competes in the traditional Tiền Phong Marathon, a major national championship in March. Photo vov.vn

Thanh Nga

Runner Lê Thị Tuyết is just 19 years old, but she is expected to get to the top podium in the women’s marathon event at the SEA Games 32 in Cambodia following her recent outstanding performances.

“This is my first time attending the biggest regional sports event, so I am very happy; I will try and be determined to get the best result,” Tuyết told Việt Nam News.

Nguyễn Tuấn Anh, Tuyết’s coach said: “SEA Games 32 is the first international tournament Tuyết participates in and competes in the marathon event. We will do our best to make her show her best performance and achieve the highest result as expected.”

In March, in preparation for the Games, Tuyết completed her coach’s tactics and won gold at the traditional Tiền Phong Marathon, a major national championship held in Lai Châu Province with a time of 2:54.33. With many steep slopes, she distributed her strength well to achieve the highest rank.

With only a height of 1.45m and weighing 37kg, Tuyết competed with endurance, toughness and determination on the track.

“Physique is not a major determinant of marathon runners' performance because the marathon is an endurance sport," coach Anh said.

"Tuyết is only 19 years old, and her achievements in domestic tournaments have proved that she is an athlete with very good physical and endurance levels, capable of achieving high results in the 10,000m and marathon (42km) category.

“We believe in Tuyết's performance at the Games 32. With the professional indicators achieved and through the survey of women's marathon performance at the last four SEA Games, Tuyết is likely to achieve a high result in the marathon event in Cambodia.”

Marathon star

Tuyết overcame strong and experienced competitors in the Vietnamese women's marathon, such as Hoàng Thị Ngọc Hoa of Bình Phước and Phạm Thị Bình of Quảng Ngãi, to win the gold medal at National Sports Games last December for the first time in her career with a time of 2:37.03. Her result was a new record at the Games, beating the old record Bình set in 2014.

Tuyết's victory was more impressive as she was not in the top group for most of the race. With a small body, Tuyết did not attract much attention. However, Tuyết's true inner strength was shown in the last kilometres. She finished first, to the surprise of many people, including marathon man Bùi Lương who won the Tiền Phong Marathon nine times and used to be Hoa's coach.

According to Lương, Tuyết can become a surprise factor for Vietnamese athletes at the upcoming Games and will reap success in the future.

Lê Thị Tuyết competes in the National Sports Games last December. — Photo thethaovietnamplus.vn

Marathon team

Currently, Tuyết and three other runners in the marathon group are in Siem Reap, Cambodia, to familiarize themselves with the competition venue and climate.

The marathon runners of the Vietnamese track and field team came to Cambodia earliest to prepare for the event. This partly stems from a change in the schedule of the tournament organisers. It was planned for May 16 in Siem Reap, but it was changed to May 6.

However, it is considered a necessary precaution in the preparation of the Vietnamese marathoners to win at least one gold medal to contribute to the team's overall goal.

The Vietnamese athletics team’s target at Cambodia’s event is to take about 14 gold medals.

In Cambodia, completing the goal of 15 gold medals is rather difficult for the athletics team as they don’t have the best athletes. Therefore, athletes, including marathoners, are determined to try their best to win golds.

Nguyễn Mạnh Hùng, general secretary of the Việt Nam Athletics Federation, said that half a month of training in Siem Reap was enough for the Vietnamese marathoners to adapt to the running track and the climate at the competition venue.

This is even more important when marathon runners in Southeast Asia, such as Odekta Elvina Naibaho of Indonesia, SEA Games’ female defending champion; and Agus Prayogo of Indonesia, SEA Games men's marathon runner-up, are ready to conquer the gold medals at the Games 32.

In addition, some athletes from Singapore, Thailand and the Philippines will also create fierce competition on the marathon track.

Both marathon and walking will be held in Siem Reap on May 6. The remaining athletics events will occur on May 8-12 at the Morodok Techo Stadium in Phnom Penh.

The Vietnamese athletics team attend the regional Games with 74 members, including 54 athletes who will compete in 40 out of 47 categories of this sport. VNS